Jason Isbell has been a vocal advocate for the COVID-19 vaccine, especially as a way for live music to safely return, and recently he decided to go straight to one of the most reliable sources for information about the pandemic: Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Fauci, a now-familiar face to many Americans, is a physician and immunologist currently serving as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and President Joe Biden's chief medical advisor, as well as a lead member of the White House's COVID-19 Response Team. During a roughly five-minute interview posted to Instagram, Isbell goes in depth with the doctor, discussing ways to encourage hesitant friends and family to get the COVID-19 vaccine and how to remain safe during the ongoing pandemic.

Early on in their conversation, Dr. Fauci to Isbell explains that he believes the best way to encourage others to get vaccinated is to ditch the judgement. “What we have found is that, when people are reluctant to get vaccinated, one of the things you’ve gotta be careful that we don’t do is to make them actually feel guilty,” he says.


Isbell was among the first artists to require that fans show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a current negative test in order to attend his shows: "You know, I'm all for freedom, but I think, if you're dead, you don't have any freedoms at all. So it's probably important to stay alive before you start questioning your liberty," he said at the time. During their interview, Dr. Fauci tells Isbell that in addition to those requirements, artists can help keep fans safe and concerts by favoring outdoor venues and attempting to normalize masks.

“It really is true that the risk of infection in an indoor, not-optimally-ventilated place is dramatically higher likelihood of getting infected to an outdoor one,” he says.

Though the conversation involved a serious topic, Isbell did not leave his signature brand of wit behind when engaging with Dr. Fauci. “I was hoping you would say also that yelling out requests is a really good way of spreading the virus, so they should stop yelling out requests from the audience,” said Isbell, receiving quite a laugh from Dr. Fauci in return.

Press play above to watch the pair's full conversation.

Top Country Songs of 2021, Ranked

You'll find much more than just the Top 10 Country Songs of 2021 on this list.

Our team has sourced fans to create 10 superlatives for this mid-year version of the year-end songs list. Best Country Tearjerker? Best Country Baby-Maker? Best Country Breakup Song of 2021? Keith Urban, Carly Pearce, Chris Bandi and more help make up this portion of the Top Country Songs list, while hitmakers like Thomas Rhett and Little Big Town lead the 10 best songs portion.

Did your favorite song of 2021 make this list? To be considered, the song must have been released in 2021 or have actively charted for a portion of the year (see "Wine, Beer, Whiskey"). New artists including Lainey Wilson, Breland and Triston Marez crack the Top 10. Let us know your favorite song of 2021 at Twitter or email, at staff@tasteofcountry.com.

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